Accuser testifies in Lexington officer's misconduct trial

gkocher1@herald-leader.comDecember 18, 2012 

The woman who says a Lexington police officer had sex with her in the back seat of his cruiser testified Tuesday that he drove her to a remote spot and raped her.

April Stinson, 28, said Sgt. Dale Brown drove to a "dark spot" and then "he got in the back seat with me. ... He started to reach down my pants. ... He started pulling my pants down. That's when he lay me down in the back seat and he raped me."

The testimony came on the second day of Brown's trial in Fayette District Court on three counts of official misconduct, which are all misdemeanors. He does not face any state charges of rape or any sexual assault.

However, a couple of weeks ago, Stinson filed a lawsuit in federal court that accuses Brown of rape, sexual battery, kidnapping and false arrest. The suit seeks damages for medical and legal expenses, and punitive damages.

When Fayette County Attorney Larry Roberts asked Stinson, "Are you making any of this up so you can get money?" Stinson said, "Absolutely not."

Under cross-examination by defense attorney Steve Schroering, Stinson acknowledged that she was intoxicated on Xanax on Dec. 9, 2011, the night of the alleged sexual assault.

Stinson acknowledged that she told various stories to patrol and internal affairs officers with Lexington police. Early on, Stinson denied that she and Brown had any sexual contact.

In one taped interview with police, Stinson said, "I think he did try to take my pants off, but he didn't touch me in any way."

"You lied to them, correct?" Schroering asked.

"I did," Stinson said.

Forensic examination of the cruiser's backseat turned up no evidence of a sexual assault, testified James Curless, a now-retired Lexington police lieutenant who led the internal-affairs investigation in the Brown case. Stinson's panties also showed no evidence, although she had already washed them several times by the time police performed tests, Curless said.

Before the alleged sexual assault, Brown had initially handcuffed Stinson and placed her under arrest for public intoxication. Later he "un-arrested" her and did not take her to jail, but drove her to a vehicle tow yard, where he allowed her to retrieve her cellphone from a vehicle that had run out of gas near Man o' War Boulevard and Beaver Creek Drive.

From there, Stinson says Brown drove her to a "dark spot" out in the county, which is believed to be a ball field near Blue Sky Parkway east of Interstate 75.

Other misconduct charges allege that Brown failed to file charges against Stinson's boyfriend, Brian Kazee, who was in possession of oxycodone pills, and did not charge Stinson for possession of a marijuana pipe. Brown is also accused of arresting Kazee for driving on a suspended license, even though he did not witness the traffic infraction.

Records show that Brown did not communicate with police dispatchers for one hour and 3 minutes from the time he and Stinson left the tow yard. The prosecution argues that Stinson made several calls from her cellphone, and that by "geolocating" those calls and texts, it shows that Brown and Stinson went into the territory of a cell tower off Athens-Boonesboro Road.

During cross-examination, FBI Special Agent Kevin Horan, who testified about this "geolocating," said he could not say exactly where a vehicle is within a cell tower's radius.

After the alleged sexual assault, Brown dropped off Stinson at her brother's house on Lexington's east side. Stinson did not make any allegation about the assault until Jan. 10, when Kazee was arrested on a warrant for failure to appear in court on a citation.

The trial resumes at 9 a.m. Wednesday. The prosecution has one more witness, and then the defense will present its case.

It is expected that attorneys will give closing arguments Wednesday and that the case will go to the jury for deliberations.

Greg Kocher: (859) 231-3305. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety.

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